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Sophie inspects medals and speaks to military veteran in Saint Lucia

Countess of Wessex arriving with Earl of Wessex (not pictured) at the High Commissioners residence, St Lucia, as they continue their visit to the Caribbean, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2022.
Countess of Wessex arriving with Earl of Wessex (not pictured) at the High Commissioners residence, St Lucia, as they continue their visit to the Caribbean, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2022.

The Countess of Wessex inspected medals and heard stories from a 100-year-old Commonwealth military veteran on a day of two engagements in Saint Lucia.

Sophie and the Earl of Wessex had been due to travel to Grenada on Tuesday but the trip to the country was postponed just a day before they were due to begin their Caribbean tour.

Speaking to Haynes Cyril, the President of the Royal Commonwealth ex-Services League, the countess heard about the centenarian’s time as part of the Winward Island Battalion in the Caribbean regiment, which he joined in 1943.

Another veteran sat at the same table at the high commissioner’s residence, 98-year-old Reginald Cherubin, asked Edward for his name, to which the earl laughed and replied “Prince Edward”.

Wearing another floral dress, the countess leant in towards Mr Cyril to look closely at his medals.

Earl and Countess of Wessex visit to the Caribbean – Day 5
The Countess of Wessex in Saint Lucia on Tuesday (Joe Giddens/PA)

The visit came at a time when the couple were due to be in Grenada, but Buckingham Palace released a note to editors on Thursday which read: “In consultation with the government of Grenada and on the advice of the governor general, the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s visit to Grenada has been postponed.

“The earl and countess hope to visit at a later date.”

No further details were given about the reason for the delay, and the decision came shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days.

Earlier, anti-monarchy campaigners said Edward’s “disinterest” in reparations for Caribbean nations was “an insult to Britain as much as it is” to the islands themselves.

Republicans criticised Edward after he gave a nervous laugh following remarks from the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, who urged him and the Countess of Wessex to use their “diplomatic influence” to achieve “reparatory justice” for the country.

The group’s chief executive, Graham Smith accused him of not being “interested in engaging sincerely with those they visit”.

Edward joked that he had not been taking notes during Gaston Browne’s opening remarks, so could not respond to all the points he had made.

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